Weekly Warm-Up: 6 Ways to Introduce Students to Biodiversity

May 22 is the International Day for Biological Diversity, established by the United Nations. But when biodiversity exists everywhere from the Amazon Basin to the inside of your own belly button, where do you begin? Check out six of our resources that provide entryways to teaching the topic.

1. Powerful Pollinators

75 percent of the world’s major crops rely on bees, birds, and other creatures for pollination. In areas where biodiversity is high, insects and other animals pollinate plants naturally. But in some cases, there are not enough pollinators to support food growth.

Watch National Geographic Emerging Explorer Dino Martins explain why biodiversity in pollinators is essential for our food system.

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2. Body Biodiversity

There’s no need to visit an exotic location to find biodiversity. You carry it with you every day in your belly button (and all across your body). In this article, learn how researchers found 2,368 different microscopic species living in the belly buttons of just 66 people.

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3. Take a Geotour

Explore the biodiversity of the Amazon Basin using our geotour, which highlights fascinating creatures such as vipers, two-toed sloths, and spider monkeys.

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4. Stroll through the Shrubbery

Although the many lines of shrubs in the English countryside were originally planted to house livestock, they’re now home to a wide range of species such as butterflies, bats, birds, hedgehogs, and dormice. Read about the biodiversity of English hedges here.

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5. Dive into an Ocean Ecosystem

Focus on the biodiversity and symbiotic relationships that make up a coral reef ecosystem. This activity includes discussion questions, videos, and a matching game. Challenge students to also consider the impact of human activity on coral reef ecosystems.

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6. Join a BioBlitz

Nat Geo is celebrating biodiversity as well as the hundredth anniversary of the National Park Service by hosting a giant BioBlitz event where scientists, families, students, teachers and community members will work together to identify as many species as possible in a designated area. Use this map to find a Nat Geo-affiliated BioBlitz near you or start your own!

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